Dr. Lonette Belizaire works with young adults in our Anxiety Center, as well as with children and teens in our Children’s Center. Her primary treatment approach utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a modality which helps people recognize and change their negative thoughts and behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective in treating many mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.
In our second Consult The Expert interview for March, we spoke with Nonie L. Craige, LCSW, a psychotherapist at the Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders.
As a psychologist who treats anxiety daily, I’ve been in a unique position during the pandemic. I can distinctly see the difference the last two years have had on individuals, families, and society in general.
For nearly two years, the country has tried their best to dodge the coronavirus. We have submitted to lockdowns, hidden ourselves away at home, and shunned gatherings with friends and family. When vaccines rolled out last year, many Americans lined up to get the jab. Millions more have gotten a booster and vaccinated their children as soon as they were eligible. Despite our vigilance, the Omicron variant is ripping through the country, infecting both the vaccinated and unvaccinated in record numbers. After being so careful for so long, how have we failed to stay safe?
“Now is the winter of our discontent,” a speech by Shakespeare in Richard III says it all as we muddle through the beginnings of a third year of this pandemic. This horrendous experience has taken a toll on all of us. David Brooks in his op-ed in the NY Times (America Is Falling Apart at the Seams, NYT, Jan 14, 2022) comments on the current misbehavior of Americans. He describes the angry outbursts noted on commercial airline flights, in retail establishments, as reflected in highway fatalities, suicides and homicide rates or even evident in members of Congress. He identifies the usual suspects including the pandemic, politics, media, Facebook/Twitter/Instagram et al.
The Center’s newest clinician, Dr. Jerome Siegmeister, MD, MaED, is an expert on the psychiatric concerns of children and adolescents. A former high school teacher, he has a unique perspective on how children learn and the societal skills they can only develop through social interaction with peers. Since the pandemic, what he has seen has left him genuinely concerned.
Marsha Glines, Ph.D is the only person on the Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorder’s team who is not a therapist or behaviorist – she is an educator who brings a diagnostic standpoint to the Center. Her role is best defined as that of an academic coach. “I believe very strongly that learning should be empowering and meaningful,” she says. “Everyone learns differently and not everyone can learn through traditional classroom methods.”
Trauma often manifests in heightened anxiety levels and feelings of isolation if others can’t understand what we have been through. In some cases it can even catch us off-guard if its effects suddenly surface years after the traumatic experience(s).
School is starting up again and many school districts have gone back to in-person learning. While back to school anxieties are typical during any given year, COVID-19 is still with us, which has added more uncertainty and stress for everyone involved.